Board of Directors & Leadership

Board of Directors

Escott O. Norton

Executive Director

escott@lahtf.org

Current Term commenced 2013

Escott O. Norton grew up surrounded by theatre and architecture. His mother co-founded a repertory theatre company and Escott spent almost every summer of his childhood building props and working backstage, as well as learning almost every aspect of live theatre production. His father designed and hand built every home Escott grew up in, and Escott continued the tradition becoming the 4th generation in his family to design and build custom homes. His most recent home, built partially underground in the Glendale hills, was a state-of-the-art 3500 square foot house that looked like it could have been build centuries ago in Italy.

Escott graduated high school early in order to follow one of his passions, filmmaking. He worked for two decades in the film industry, mostly in camera and art departments, working his way up to Production Designer. He focused on independent, smaller productions allowing for greater creative freedom. Some of his favorite projects were toy commercials and TV movies made for families.

Escott is the founding director of the Friends of the Rialto, a 33 year old non-profit group advocating for the preservation, restoration and re use of a historic movie palace in South Pasadena, a theatre he has visited for as long as he can remember.

In addition to being an early member, Escott is honored to serve as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, a nationally renowned non-profit that has landmarked and protected dozens of historic theatres across L.A. County.  As a Los Angeles native, he feels the work that LAHTF does is vital for the future of his home town, as well as the nexus of all of his passions, movies, theatre, architecture, history, and Los Angeles.

Escott has been married to Jeanne since 1988 and they share a love of theatre, art and travel and their kids. Her career has allowed them to explore all over the world, and share these experiences with their two amazing sons, Kyle and Evan. Escott appreciates how patient his family has been because wherever they travel he always goes out of his way to visit as many historic theatres as he can!

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Tiffany Nitsche

President

tiffany@lahtf.org

Current Term commenced 2015

TIffany is a Kansas City native who developed a passion for historic preservation while growing up working after school, weekends, and holidays helping to rehabilitate historic buildings her family purchased in their hometown. She watched her parents become leaders in the community by restoring and reactivating their buildings, and being part of the revitalization of downtown, not realizing the impact this would have on her. Summer vacations and spring breaks were filled with explorations of Savannah and Boston, Charleston and Washington D.C. lending to the strong sense of history her parents instilled in her.

Growing up, there were season tickets to Starlight Theatre every Summer and hunting for abandoned theatres on road trips to places like Chicago and Minneapolis with her mom. She loved peeking in the windows to see if they just up and left it as is one day or if someone had come to gut anything of monetary value. They would create stories about what happened to the theatres and who loved them before they shuttered. When she was in her early 20s, she followed the preservation efforts of a historic Kansas City theatre that really became the catalyst for her interest in helping to save these community venues of storytelling and entertainment, and how to bring them back to life. She watched as the theatre was neglected and yet saved from demolition every few years by the city before eventually being purchased and renovated in to a thriving movie theatre in a revitalized downtown district, proving to her that anything is possible even when the odds don't seem to be in your - or the building's - favor.

Her interest in Los Angeles preservation advocacy began with the demolition of the Ambassador Hotel before becoming involved in preservation issues in West Hollywood. She is a founding member of the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance, formed in 2012. The same year, she was introduced to the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation as a volunteer and immediately fell in love with the organization, the mission, and the passionate people she regularly meets through the organization's advocacy and events. She has served on the Board of Directors since January 2015 and currently oversees the organization's development and special events.

Tiffany works as an executive and producer in the entertainment industry. She and her fiancé currently reside in Toluca Lake and enjoy traveling as much as their schedules allow. When not traveling or visiting family, you're sure to find her in a historic restaurant or theatre somewhere in the city.

Board of Directors

Wendell Benedetti

Vice President

Current Term commenced 2015

 

Wendell Benedetti (UCLA) began his photojournalism career covering winter sports for a variety of newspapers and magazines, including the Santa Monica Evening Outlook, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, North County Times (Oceanside Blade-Tribune), Los Angeles Daily News, Tap-Online, Skiing Magazine, and City Sports Magazine.

Following that his coverage of photography and digital imaging topics appeared in Petersen's Photographic Magazine and Website, in addition to Professional Photographer, Photo Electronic Imaging, Rangefinder, and Focus on Imaging magazines. He was co-editor of the Prodigy Photography Forum.

His writing and photography has also appeared in the Orange County Register, Snow Country Magazine, and Powder Magazine, among others. He was the past president of the Southern California Ski Writers Association and national board member of the North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).  He was Technology Editor at Newswatch Feature Service.

Board of Directors

David Saffer

Current Term commenced 2014

David’s love of theatre, performing, and architecture began at an early age thanks to his parents. Growing up in Los Angeles meant annual subscriptions to the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera at the Music Center and a lifelong passion for the arts began. In addition to school participation in band, orchestra, and theatre, David was selected to participate with the LA Youth Male Honor Choir (a group sponsored by the City of Los Angeles that existed between the CA Boys Choir and the Master Choral in the stable of choral groups sponsored by the City and in addition to the LA Philharmonic) and a paid singer/performer with the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. It’s also meant an obsession that manifested itself as solo bus trips to downtown LA from “The Valley” to explore the city center and all it had to offer.

With the start of College performing took a back seat but a lifelong love of theatre, arts, and architecture never waned. David became involved with the Los Angeles Conservancy over 30 years ago as a docent for their walking tours and became a member of their Historic Theatres Committee in the second year of the Last Remaining Seats summer film series, eventually serving as the chair of their Historic Theatres Committee. Since that time he has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the West Adams Heritage Association (past chair Zoning and Planning Committee and past President), TreePeople (a graduate of their Urban Forrester program and past recipient of a State of CA grant for a tree planting project of almost 100 trees in south LA), and currently serves as the City of LA Office of Historic Preservation’s designee to the Jefferson Park Historic Preservation Overlay Zone Board (Chair).

Professionally David works in the Human Resources / Payroll field and holds a Senior Professional Human Resources certification (SPHR) from the Human Resource Certification Institute.

Board of Directors

Mike Hume

Current Term commenced 2018

Mike brings over 30 years of theatre experience to the Board, having become involved in technical theatre in the UK at a young age.  His interest in theatre sprung from his father's Stage Manager role with the critically-acclaimed Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Edinburgh at Edinburgh's historic Edwardian-era King's Theatre, which set Mike upon the path to pursue his interest in theatre lighting and stage management.  Mike has lit productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Scottish Youth Theatre, National Youth Music Theatre, and independent productions for noted UK actors Tom Conti and Brian Cox.

Mike has been based on the westside of Los Angeles since 2010 and is an IT professional with over 25 years Information Technology experience working in Australia, the UK and the US.  He most recently served as Chief Technology Officer at KCC LLC, a division of Australia-based company Computershare, and currently advises IT startups on the US west coast.  Mike earned his Honors degree in Computer Science from Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University, and is recognized as a Chartered IT Professional by the British Computer Society and Engineering Council.

In addition to his background in technical theatre and stage design, Mike is passionate about historic theatres and photography.  Mike has combined these interests by photographing historic and significant theatres across the world, both as a hobby and for the preservation record, and created the website Historic Theatre Photos.

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